P. O. Box 440
Garrison, NY 10524
Phone: (845) 424-4689
Cell: (914) 393-1462
Email: bgimelson@aol.com

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The First African American to Receive a Doctorate in Psychology from Columbia University
(Black Americana) Kenneth Clark (USA, 1914 - 2005)

TLS, 1p, 4to, Northside Center for Child Development, Inc, New York, September 15, 1955. To Dr.Andrew M.Burris.

Important letter from a pioneering black psychologist who, with his wife, extensively studied the damaging effects of racism and segregation to both black and white children. Reads in part, "It was good to receive your warm, kind and thoughtful letter about "Prejudice and Your Child". I was so moved by your approval of what I was trying g to do that I immediately called the publishers and read them the portion of the letter in which you described your difficulty in attempting to purchase a copy of the book and your question about New York reviewers. They insist that the book will be reviewed- that it cannot long be ignored. THey have sent me copies of reviews which have appeared in the Chattanooga Times, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and other newspapers…they have described the book as a serious scholarly and calm appraisal of an important social problem…not one of the New York papers has yet reviewed it…It might be that the general American public is not ready to accept this approach to the problem of racial prejudice…"


Henry Clay Declines A Speaking Engagement
Henry Clay (USA, 1777 - 1852)

"The Great Compromiser", Henry Clay a Senator from Kentucky, declines an invitation (an LS over three pages!) from the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church. Docketed "July 28, 1848".


John Hancock Pens a Letter in August, 1776, Remanding Three Men Suspected of Sedition to the Council of Safety in Philadelphia; Written on the Back of an ALS of Robert Hanson Harrison, Naming the Three Men and Sending Them to New York
John Hancock (USA, 1737 - 1793)

JOHN HANCOCK (1737-1793). Merchant, statesman, patriot; first to sign Declaration of Independence. ALS, 1p, 4to, [Philadelphia], August 22, 1776. “To the Officers of the Guard at the Indian Queen”.

“You are to take the within nam’d persons now in your Custody, to the Council of Safety of Pennsylvania, who are Requested to Examine them touching the matters alledged against them and if nothing be found against them they be discharg’d. By order of Congress

Augst 22d: 1776 John Hancock, Presid’t

Note: The”Indian Queen” was a hotel in Philadelphia which was used to house prisoners.

ROBERT HANSON HARRISON (1745-1790) American lawyer and jurist; aide-de-camp to General George Washington from 1775-1781, the second longest serving in that capacity next to Tench Tilghman. ALS, “Robt H Harrison Secy” with a postscript signed “R H Harrison”.

Harrison had served as Washington’s lawyer in Virginia and had accompanied him for three days in 1769 to obtain the land of his neighbor John Posey, in payment of a debt. In 1775 Washington summoned Harrison help him and he became the only Virginian on his staff. In addition to secretarial duties, Harrison also helped Washington execute many official military duties as is evidenced in this letter:

“To Jacob Shafer of the City of New York

Whereas there is full reason to Apprehend that Certain Thomas and Patrick Ballantine & Robert Gilmore late of the Colony of Virginia and who Passed from the above said City this morning to (Powder Hart?) are persons unfriendly to the Rights and Liberties of the United States of America, and are Carrying on Sundry Malpractices against the Interest of the said States- These are therefore to Require you to make Diligent Pursuit after all and every of the Person aforesaid and them having (been) found, the same and all Sincerely Delivered to the Committee of the Town or County that shall be most Contiguous to be by them safely Conveyed to th City of Philadelphia and then Delivered to the Honorable President of the Continental Congress. By His Excellency’s Command, Robt. H.Harrison Secy Head Qrs N York Augt. 17th 1776

All Friends to America are requested to aid & assist the said Jacob Shafer in the Execution of this Warrant”

There was a Jacob Shafer in the Berks County militia who may have been stationed in New York in 1776.

An amazing pair of letters linking two great American patriots just a month or so after the Declaration. Also note the early use of the term, “United States of America” in Harrison’s letter.

After the War Washington nominated Harrison to the Supreme Court of the United States, which he refused because of ill health; he died a few months after he had been confirmed by the Senate.


Warren Gamaliel Harding (USA, 1865 - 1923)

WARREN GAMALIEL HARDING (1865-1923) Twenty-ninth President of the United States. Autograph Telegram Signed “Harding”, ½ page, 4to, to Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes. At the top is a notation by the telegrapher, “Wired/ 7/27/23 E.U.S.”

President Harding writes:

“Hughes Department of State Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your good letter x Much interested in enclosures x We found and left Vancouver cordially neighborly Harding”

Undoubtedly the last example of a letter written by President Harding as he died on the evening of August 2, 1923, just six days after he sent this telegram to Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes from Washington. He and his entourage had taken a train to the West, becoming the first sitting President to visit Alaska and Canada. On the 26th of July he gave a speech at the University of Washington stadium to 25,000 people but rushed through it and did not even wait for applause. After experiencing abdominal pain, on the advice of his physician Dr. Charles Sawyer who thought his recurrence was from an previous dietary upset, Harding went to bed early on the 27th. The Presidential train pulled into San Francisco on the 29th and Harding insisted on walking to the car,which whisked him away to the Palace Hotel. It was discovered by another doctor that he had a heart problem and was suffering from pneumonia, and was having a relapse. Confined to bed, he was treated with caffeine and digitalis, which provided enough relief that he was allowed to sit up on August 2nd. His wife read a magazine article praising the President and his last words were, “…that’s good, read some more”, as he fell back on his pillow and died.


Promissory Note in the Hand of Future President Rutherford B.Hayes While a Lawyer in Lower Sandusky, Ohio
Rutherford B. Hayes (USA, 1822 - 1893)

Autograph Document with ADS as an endorsement on reverse, 1p, 8vo, L(ower). Sandusky, Ohio, July 12, 1845. A promise to pay $333.19 "for value recd with use from date..."one year from the date of the note. Signed by John Kistler and Daniel Brainard.On verso Hayes has written, "Pay to the order of R.B.Hayes...Dec.17, 1845".

Early period for Hayes, having just graduated Harvard Law School and only begun his practice in 1845. He continued practicing law for only two years when he developed a respiratory illness and moved to Texas for his health,with his uncle in 1847. He would not take up the law again until 1850.


Hayes and Two Others Recommend Two Other Lawyers to Practice in Lower Sandusky, Ohio
Rutherford B. Hayes (USA, 1822 - 1893)

DS, 1p, 4to,n.p., n.d. but probably Lower Sandusky, Ohio, circa 1845. Recommendation for "messrs Lyle and Matheas...to practice as attorneys & counsellors at law..." Signed "R.B.Hayes" beneath signatures of B.N.May and W.W.Ainge


Interesting Letter Of President Hoover on World War I Veterans
Herbert Hoover (USA, 1874 - 1964)

TLS, 1p, 4to,The White House, February 1, 1932. To Dr.Abraham Jablons, Grand Street Post No.1025, The American Legion, NYC. Sends a message to and American Legion post: "Please convey to the Grand Street Boys and their guests, the Disabled Veterans of the World War of the metropolitan area of New York, my cordial greetings in connection with the annual dinner. The occasion reflects the gratitude which all citizens feel for all time for their unselfish service to the country". Two file holes at the top, not affecting text.


Andrew Jackson (USA, 1767 - 1845)

ANDREW JACKSON (1767-1845). Seventh President of the U.S. ALS, 1p, 4to, August 28, 1828. With integral leaf addressed to “The Honble James K, Polk, Columbia, Tennessee”. Docketed in Polk’s hand, “General Andrew Jackson.

At this time Jackson, having lost the previous election four years before to John Quincy Adams, ran as the Democratic candidate and won in a landslide. Less than six months after this letter was written, Jackson was sworn in as the seventh President of the United States. Polk was a protégé of Andrew Jackson and was a sitting member of the House of Representatives at the time of this letter; he went on to become the eleventh President.

Jackson writes:

“August 28th, 1828

My Dr/Sir,

Yours of the 26th inst has been received; I thank you for the information contained, & should it become necessary, will accept of your kind offer, & call upon you.

With respectful compliments to your mother & family, & your amiable lady, believe me yr friend,

Andrew Jackson”

Another interesting aspect of this letter is that in addition to one future president writing another, both have penned the other’s name in their hand.


Scarce Document Signed by Israel Jacobs
(Judaica) Israel Jacobs (USA, 1726 - 1796)

DS, 1p, small folio, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, March 17, 1795.

A partly printed document whereby Jacobs sells 400 acres of land which he received "by warrant" in 1794, to George Eddy of Philadelphia, for five shillings. This may have been land Jacobs obtained from a Revolutionary War soldier who had gotten it by grant for his service. Printed by Henry Tuckness in Philadelphia; countersigned by George Stroud.


President Andrew Johnson Issues a Pass Allowing General John W. Denver to Visit Benjamin Ficklin, a Prisoner in The Old Capital Prison, as Counsel
Andrew Johnson (USA, 1808 - 1875)

ANDREW JOHNSON (1808-1875). Seventeenth President of the United States who took office upon the assassination President Abraham Lincoln. Partly printed DS, 1p, oblong 8vo, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., June 12th, 1865. With the original printed envelope “From the President of the United States.” And a manuscript endorsement to the left, “Pass to see Ficklin”.

A rare pass granting permission to “General Denver to visit – Ficklin, a prisoner in the Old Capitol Prison and confer with him as counsel privately, till further orders. Andrew Johnson.” Extremely rare as very few people were allowed into this prison which housed several conspirators and Civil War criminals.

General James William “Jim” Denver (1817-1892). American politician, soldier, and lawyer. Served as a Democratic Representative from California, Governor of Kansas Territory, and practiced law after the Civil War. The City of Denver is named after him.

Benjamin Franklin Ficklin (1827-1871) Graduate of VMI; helped establish the Pony Express and other mail routes in the U.S.; partly responsible for the formation of the Pacific Telegraph Company. While on a secret peace mission for the Confederacy toward the end of the war, he was in Washington at the time of Lincoln’s assassination. He had been a purchasing agent and an intelligence officer for the Confederate States. He was arrested by Federal troops and placed in The Old Capitol Prison; Mary Surratt, John Ford, and Dr. Samuel Mudd, John Mosby, and Henry Wirz were fellow inmates when Ficklin was imprisoned. Due to his connections and with the help General Denver, Ficklin was exonerated.


Lyndon Johnson Sends Thanks for naming A Child after Him- With a Twist
Lyndon Baines Johnson (USA, 1908 - 1973)

Typed Letter Signed "LBJ:, Austin, Texas, February 28, 1972. To Mr. and Mrs. Robert Colbert. He writes, " Thanks for sending me that good picture of your young son and my namesake. I am so proud of him that I have written him the enclosed letter" (not present).

Now while this sounds innocuous enough, an ex-president happy that someone named their child Lyndon Baines, it was actually a ruse to obtain Johnson's autograph.Bob Colbert, an elevator operator in Philadelphia, was what we used to call an autograph hound. He would write to famous people and tell them, like in this letter, that he had named his son (or daughter) after that person. In actuality Bob had only one son named Robert Colbert,Jr.! Of particular note was the time he created an international incident. Bob had written to Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and told him he had named his newborn son, Yasser Arafat Colbert. Colbert got a congratulatory letter back from Arafat but he went much further. While attending a meeting of the United Nations Arafat thought it would be great publicity and perhaps a dig at the United States if he paid a visit to his namesake in Philadelphia. Of course, not only was there no Yasser Arafat Colbert, Mrs. Colbert had been unable to have children for many years. The wire services and of course all the Philadelphia newspapers carried the story of Arafat's planned visit and the aftermath. It is hard to imagine a more embarrassing moment to all parties, when Colbert had to divulge that he had lied to Arafat to obtain his autograph! This may have been the last time Bob tried the namesake ploy, or maybe not!


Early Congressional Letter of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (USA, 1917 - 1963)

TLS, 1p, 8vo, Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., November 26, 1951.

He writes, "I am extremely sorry that it is not possible to effect your brother's discharge at this time; and that from all indications a hearing aid would be of no help to him. However, in the event there is anything further I can do to assist, I certainly hope you will get in touch with me again....


Iconic Photograph of Caroline Greeting JFK As He Departs Air Force I
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (USA, 1917 - 1963)

Inscribed Photograph Signed by Hamilton Secretary I ("To Cornelius Greenway D.D. with best wishes John Kennedy"), quarto, framed with Presidential seal issued by the Treasury Department in the 1960's. Photograph probably accomplished by White House photographer Robert LeRoy Knudsen. From the collection of Reverend Cornelius Greenway, sold by Parke-Bernet in the early 1970's and purchased directly from that sale.


The Author of the "Star Spangled Banner"
Francis Scott Key (USA, 1779 - 1843)

Partial ADS, "Francis S. Key", in text, 1p,oblong 12mo, n.p,n.d.

Key, a most important Washington lawyer, author, and amateur poet, is best known to history for penning the words to our nation's national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner". He writes, "Francis S. Key hath this day paid to the said Isaac Robbins the said purchase money in full amounting to the sum of three thousand eight hundred and fourteen dollars and nineteen cents.-" There are also numerous words in his hand on the verso of this partial document. On HOLD

Moses Levy- The First Philadelphia Jewish Lawyer
(Judaica) Moses Levy (USA, 1757 - 1826)

Partial ADS "M Levy", 1p, oblong 8vo.Reads, "April 11.1790. Rec'd from the above W. Rawle Esquire to be entered up in New Castle County. M Levy".

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he was the son of Samson Levy, scion of a prominent Philadelphia family.He was admitted to the Bar on March 19, 1778, becoming the first practicing Jewish lawyer in Philadelphia. A very scarce autograph.


Census From 1830 of "Free Whites, Slaves & Free Persons of Color" in East Tennessee
William C. Mynatt (USA, 1831 - 1831)

Autograph Document Signed, 2pp, 4to, [Knoxville, TE],District of East Tennessee, June 3, 1831.

An interesting historic census document for East Tennessee listing how many Whites, Slaves, and "Colored Free Persons" were living in 22 counties. The total numberds were quite large- "Whites 182115, Slaves 17873, Free Colored Person 1936".

Mynatt, a War of 1812 Aid-de-camp to General Cocke, and later Mayor of Knoxville, signs the document twice.


Annie Oakley Asks a Postmaster to Forward Mail to Her Under Several Different Names
Annie Oakley (USA, 1860 - 1926)

ALS, 1 1/2 pages, 8vo, 706 Lexington Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, April 8th, 1926. To Postmaster, Versailles, Ohio.

In this unusual letter, Annie Oakley, nicknamed "Little Miss Sure Shot" by Geronimo, whom she met while performing at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, writes her name three times- "Annie Oakley", "Annie Oakley Butler", and signs it "Annie Oakley Butler", also writing her husband's name, "Frank E.Butler". Arguably, the greatest rifle shot of all time, she once shot a cigarette ash from the mouth of Kaiser Wilhelm, and, while ill in the same year this letter was written, shot a cigarette out of a man's mouth from a moving automobile to open up a hotel in the Midwest.

The perfect letter for a gun enthusiast, written on two separate pages so it could be framed.


The Great Ceramatist and Painter Henry Varnum Poor Defines "Art Talent"
Henry Varnum Poor (USA, 1887 - 1970)

ALS, 1p, 4to, no date but circa 1934, on verso of a letter from Rose T. Marucci, asking him "...how art talent may be defined..." Poor, at the time one of the most important artists in the country, responds, "The most basic thing in what you call "Art Talent" is I think a constructive sense. It is not at all uncommon - I should imagine we think of all children as constructive. It is apt to be largely physical - to lie in the body & hands as much as brain. Mechanically minded boys, girls who sew etc have this. From this group comes the smaller group who have temperament - or interest - or love of some form of art which becomes conscious. Among these, the few who have sustaining will power to carry their basic endowment continually higher make up the few who may be creative artists. The intensity & stamina of the will is I think the really controlling factor. Sincerely, Henry V.Poor".


Franked Envelope and Letter of Edith Kermit Roosevelt, Second Wife and First Lady to Theodore Roosevelt
Edith Kermit Roosevelt (USA, 1861 - 1948)

Small envelope bearing a franking signature of Edith K.Roosevelt in upper right corner, addressed to "Miss Rosa Mordecai" in Washington, DC. Also has a circular "Oyster BAy, NY" postmark dated Oct.29, 1927. Included is a two page Autograph Note Signed which reads, "Oct.29th. Sagamore Hill. Dear Miss Mordecai, All my thanks for your letter of affectionate remembrance. And thanks for the cards.I wish each lived nearer to each of us. E. Nicks & her friends are to be in Switzerland this winter. I miss them sadly. Affectionately your friend, Edith Kermit Roosevelt"

Rosa Mordecai was a scion of a distinguished Jewish family of merchants, physicians, educators, soldiers, philanthropists, and reformers. Faith in education as the path toward equality of opportunity was instilled in Rosa Mordecai by her father, Alfred Mordecai—a distinguished educator and businessman, the first Jewish graduate of West Point, and the foremost expert on munitions in antebellum America—and her mother, Sarah (Hays), niece of rebecca gratz, the founder of the first Hebrew Sunday school in America.


Eleanor Roosevelt Signed White House Card
Eleanor Roosevelt (USA, 1884 - 1962)

Scarce White house card signed. Mrs. Roosevelt had the longest tenure of any first lady.


First Day Cover Signed by Eric Sloan, Peter Hurd, and Henrietta Wyeth
Eric Sloane (USA, 1905 - 1985)

A first day cover of the 1962 Winslow Homer stamp signed by Eric Sloane, Peter Hurd (1904-1984), and Henriette Wyeth (Hurd, 1907-1997).The cover is postmarked, Gloucester, Mass, Dec.15, 1962 and bears a 4¢ stamp honoring Winslow Homer.

Eric Sloane had studied under N. C. Wyeth and was an important muralist, and authored numerous art books. Peter Hurd was a western artist who also studied under N.C.Wyeth. eventually marrying his daughter, Henriette, also a renowned artist. Accompanying the signed cover is a photograph of Peter Hurd and his wife Henriette in later life.


Taft Signs a Certificate of Membership of the University Club, of the City of Washington, District of Columbia, as "President"
William Howard Taft (USA, 1857 - 1930)

Printed DS, 1p, 4to, [Washington, DC], n.d. Scarce document signed by Taft as President of the University Club of DC, in blank. What makes this interesting is that Taft, a former President of the United States, is signing a document as a different kind of "President"!


A Note in the Hand of Future Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney
Roger Brooke Taney (USA, 1777 - 1864)

ADS, 1p, oblong 8vo, Feb.2, 1813, while in private practice. An authorization for another lawyer to deliver papers in a lawsuit.Taney later became the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1836-1864) and delivered the majority decision in the 1857 Dred Scott case which ruled among other things that congress had no right to restrict the spread of slavery into Federal territories. This decision has been widely viewed by historians as one of the causes of the Civil War.


Harry S. Truman (USA, 1884 - 1972)

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). Document signed, (“Harry Truman”), 1p, 8vo,The White House, Cabinet Room, 7:09 P.M., April 12, 1945. On official stationery with gold Presidential seal, a spread eagle holding arrows in one talon, and an olive branch in the other. Framed with portrait of Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone administering the Oath of Office. Dated only hours after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt of a stroke in Warm Springs, Georgia; a painting of Woodrow Wilson hangs above the ceremony. This important historic document reads,

“The Oath of Office I, Harry S. Truman, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to The best of my ability, preserve, protect, And defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God. Harry Truman (signed)

Administered by: Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone 7:09 P.M. April 12, 1945 Cabinet Room The White House”


Truman Letter in the Last year of His Life
Harry S Truman (USA, 1884 - 1972)

President. TLS, 1p, 4to, Independence, Missouri, January 11, 1972. Sends a signed photograph (not enclosed); signed with his shaky aged signature.


Truman Writes to Comedian George Jessel Regarding the death of His Brother
Harry S Truman (USA, 1884 - 1972)

TLS, 1p, 4to, Independence,Missouri, July 15, 1965.Ex-President Truman thanks Jessel for a note of condolence on the death of his younger brother John Vivian Truman (1886-1965).


Letter to John Boardman from the Long Time Revolutionary Period New York Lieutenant Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt
Pierre Van Cortlandt (USA, 1721 - 1814)

ALS, "P.V.Cortlandt, 1p, 4to, Philadelphia, Jan.1st, 1799. With address leaf bearing a light red PHI postmark and matching straight line "FREE"; Van Cortlandt has franked it in the upper right hand corner, "P.V.Cortlandt".

Van Cortlandt, descended from early settlers of New York including mayor Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and served as Lieutenant Governor of New York under George Clinton from 1777-1795. In 1747 he inherited the Van Cortlandt Manor House and extensive surrounding lands from his father, Philip Van Cortlandt. Apparently, he was presed for money when he penned this letter as he is reminding Boardman that he "...must be sensible that altho the Land is bound you are not in the least exonerated from payment of your bond..."